McCain disregard of the truth noticed by mainstream media. Ignored by voters?
How many Associated Press members will pick up this story. More than enough, I hope.
Analysis: McCain's claims skirt facts, test voters
By CHARLES BABINGTON – 2 hours ago
WASHINGTON (AP) — The "Straight Talk Express" has detoured into doublespeak.
Republican presidential nominee John McCain, a self-proclaimed tell-it-like-it-is maverick, keeps saying his running mate, Sarah Palin, killed the federally funded Bridge to Nowhere when, in fact, she pulled her support only after the project became a political embarrassment. He accuses Democrat Barack Obama of calling Palin a pig, which did not happen. He says Obama would raise nearly everyone's taxes, when independent groups say 80 percent of families would get tax cuts instead.
Once, as the victim, he denounced these tactics. Now, he embraces them.
McCain's persistence in pushing dubious claims is all the more notable because many political insiders consider him one of the greatest living victims of underhanded campaigning. Locked in a tight race with George W. Bush for the Republican presidential nomination in 2000, McCain was rocked in South Carolina by a whisper campaign claiming he had fathered an illegitimate black child and was mentally unstable.
Shaken by the experience, McCain denounced less-than-truthful campaigning. Vowing to live up to his "straight talk" motto, he apologized for his reluctance to criticize the flying of the Confederate flag at South Carolina's state Capitol in a bid for votes. When the so-called Swift Boat Veterans for Truth attacked the military record of Democrat and fellow Navy officer John Kerry in 2004, McCain called the ads "dishonest and dishonorable."
Now, top aides to McCain include Steve Schmidt, who has close ties to Karl Rove, Bush's premier political adviser in 2000.
Even when confronted with the truth, the campaign continues to lie.
Politicians usually modify or drop claims when a string of newspaper and TV news accounts concludes they are untrue or greatly exaggerated. Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, for example, conceded she had not come under sniper fire in Bosnia after a batch of debunking articles subjected her to scorn during her primary contest against Obama.
But McCain and his running mate Palin, the Alaska governor, were defiant this week in the face of similar reports. Day after day she said she had told Congress "no thanks" to the so-called Bridge to Nowhere, a rural Alaska project that was abandoned when critics challenged its costs and usefulness. For nearly a week, major news outlets had documented that Palin supported the bridge when running for governor in 2006, noting that she turned against it only after it became an object of ridicule in Alaska and a symbol of Congress's out-of-control earmarking.
The McCain-Palin campaign made at least three other aggressive claims this week that omitted key details or made dubious assumptions to criticize Obama. It equated lawmakers' requests for money for special projects with corruption, even though Palin has sought nearly $200 million in such "earmarks" this year.
It produced an Internet ad implying that Obama had called Palin a pig when he used a familiar phrase, which McCain also has used, about putting "lipstick on a pig" to try to make a bad situation look better. McCain supporters said Obama was slyly alluding to Palin's description of herself as a pit bull in lipstick, but there was nothing in his remarks to support the claim. Obama accused the GOP campaign of "lies and phony outrage."
The lipstick wars were fully engaged when the McCain campaign produced another ad saying Obama favored "comprehensive sex education" for kindergartners. The charge triggered the sort of headlines becoming increasingly common in major newspapers and wire services monitoring the factual content of political ads and speeches.
"Ad on Sex Education Distorts Obama Policy," was the headline on a New York Times article Thursday. "McCain's 'Education' Spot is Dishonest, Deceptive," The Washington Post's "Fact Checker" article said.
Obama's campaign has not been blameless.
Obama, of course, has made exaggerated or questionable assertions as well. Earlier this year, for instance, he repeated a claim that more black men are in prison than in college, after news accounts refuted it. He also used a McCain remark about having troops in Iraq for "100 years" to exaggerate McCain's proposals for being fully engaged militarily in that country.
In general, however, Obama has been quicker to react to news accounts challenging his accuracy. Faced with skeptical reports this year, for instance, he stopped saying he "worked his way" through college, and instead credited hard work and scholarships.
Other posts regarding McCain/Palin lies.
- Palin got gas, not experience in Ireland (another Palin lie)
- Sarah Palin lies and - for some reason - that bothers me (but not her backers)
- Palin did not sell governor's plan on eBay as claimed Where do McCain and
- Palin really stand on earmarks? Palin was director of embattled Steven 527 Group
- NBC, Fox did not challenge McCain's false claim that Obama was a community organizer when Palin was in office
- Alaskans attack Palin's first campaign lie
- Locals say Sarah Palin flip flopped on Bridge to Nowhere; money not returned